Saturday, September 30, 2006

'cause New York Cares

Going to weigh in on this proposed transfats ban in NYC. First off, I'm going to start off with the controversial statement "I don't like trans fats."

That said - this entire thing doesn't necessarily remind me of Big Brother or even Demolition Man (Jesus, that's a horrible flick), but rather our ability to constantly try to fool ourselves into making stuff that isn't supposed to be healthy - healthy.

In the '80s - 'fat' - didn't matter if it was the 'good fats' - was bad. So, out came the fat-free stuff. Hence, Snackwells cookies. Only problem was those Snackwell cookies were loaded with refined sugar to substitute for fat.

Now, Doritos and Oreos are sans-trans fat. But they just replaced trans fats with sunflower oil. Hopefully, people will know better, but most likely, people are going to reason "well, I can eat Oreos now, because they're low fat AND have no trans fats." Yes, trans fats are horrible and part of me is glad that government is going after the producers of obesity with a fraction of the zeal they go after tobacco companies. Yes, tobacco puts a huge strain on the health care industry, but the fast food and the snack food industry have to put at least an equal strain on health care with the crap they produce.

To sum up - remove trans fats in New York. It'll make the New Yorkers feel better. But that's not going to change the fact that no matter what type of oil TGI Friday's cooks with - a two-thirds pound burger with a large order of onion rings STILL isn't healthy.


Friday, September 29, 2006


Anxiously awaiting for Blogger to get some of the bugs from its Beta version ironed out - like being able to post videos from YouTube and GoogleVideo (ironic being that your new log on name for Blogger is based on your Gmail addy).

I had a job interview that went amazingly well today - dude lined up two more interviews next week. I've been listening to a lot of "sad bastard" music at my current job. Favorite song of the week: Aimee Mann's "I've Had It."

Part of me does feel a bit reluctant to take on a new job. I've got a ton of deadlines - as does the other writer. I would also like to make it to that golden "one year" mark that's always nice to have on resumes. My resume has one '5 year' entry and one '3 year' entry - and the 3 year was a startup that shed 40 percent of its staff - and I managed to survive that. But if I plan on leaving in May, that decent run of stability is going to have two 'six month' jobs.

The meeting today was great - with another journalist turned tech writer. Both of us were laughing about how we so wanted to get into journalism, but the basic shit pay for most papers kept us in the geek field of tech writing. The company is awesome - it has won a slew of "best companies to work for" awards and has even been mentioned in Fortune 500.

The job would be close to my brother's - where I could, in fact, give dog ownership another shot - since he said he could watch him or her. But I know this is not the route to go as long as I have an apartment. Plus, I know getting a dog to lift your spirits is about as successful as trying to get into a relationship to boost your esteem. Just doesn't work.

Ideal situation would be to stick this job out until May and get the hell out of here. But I don't know if I can stand another week in this job. I know going to another technical writing job may put me in the same state I am now, but not moving is right now a worse option than taking a risk and moving.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

iPod Recovered

My friend who I helped move called me and said he found something in his glove compartment. iPod.

I'm a dumbass.
But a very happy, very elated dumbass.

Friday, September 22, 2006

He may be trying too hard to be Murrow, but I still love this guy

It looks like the Beta version of Blogspot still has a shitton of bugs to work out. I can't even get a YouTube video to work, so, here's Keith Olbermann's epic vent about September 11.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Thoughts on "The Path to 9/11"

I know this is a wee bit dated...

I watched maybe ten minutes of it after Bush's address. But I heard a ton of stuff about it. I was gung-ho about having Michael Moore's 'Fahrenheit 9/11' in theaters, so I was gung-ho about not censoring this movie. Blowhards like Rush and Fox News were saying the Clinton administration was trying to get it censored or taken off the air - maybe - but there's a huge gulf between vocally criticizing something and deliberately trying to get it off the air. I also respected ABC for airing "Path..." while other networks like CBS caved to such pressure (like CBS for shuffling The Regans to Showtime).

But anyway - it did make me think - popmatters, Paste magazine and a ton of mainstream pubs trashed 'Path to 9/11.' And yes, I've heard that the assassination movie about President Bush is getting awards overseas. And seriously - if that 'Path to 9/11' was all Bush bashing, I wouldn't be surprised if those 'C's and 'D' reviews in the magazines would become 'B+'s and 'A-'s.

(bear with me, I'm getting to my point)

So, I was sympathetic to the movie. It appeared to be critical of the Clinton administration - and let's face it - in Clinton's term, al-Quaida attacked the embassies in Africa, bombed the World Trade Center and bombed the USS Kohl. And the fact that we pretty much know every single screw-up the Bush administration did, but you have to actually do the research to find the faults of the Clinton administration. There's enough blame to go around.

So, I was sympathetic to the movie. Until ...

I read in MediaMatters and confirmed it in a few other publications that in that "Path to 9/11" - the director had the most visible ringleader of the 9/11 hijackers ...

Sorry, dudes, but if I were to write a report about the hijackings in the tenth grade, my journalism teacher would have friggin' caught this.

Dumbasses -

(here's the article from Media Matters)
Finally, part two of the "docudrama" retained a scene that had previously been exposed as factually inaccurate, in which a major airline disregards security warnings and lets one of the hijackers board his flight. The film depicts Mohammed Atta, the alleged ringleader of the 9-11 plot, checking in for his flight at Boston's Logan Airport at an American Airlines ticket counter. A security warning appears on the American Airlines employee's screen. The employee calls a supervisor, who hands Atta his ticket and allows him to pass, telling the employee that they will simply keep Atta's checked luggage off the plane until it is confirmed he has boarded.
In fact, as the 9-11 Commission report described on the first page of its first chapter, the security warning actually occurred as Atta was checking in for his flight in Portland, Maine. But Atta flew US Airways Express from Portland to Logan Airport, where he transferred to American Airlines Flight 11, which would later crash into the North Tower at the World Trade Center:


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Mr. Self Destructive

Went to my friend's wedding this weekend. And even though I've been especially nice in letting people merge into traffic without signaling, even though I donated blood this week and even though I helped a friend move without question, karma did not reward me. I had to change for the wedding and my friend said I could take his car to the wedding since mine was full of his stuff from moving a load that I didn't have time to unload. The wedding venue was only five miles away, but no - I had to take the iPod adapter and the iPod so I could play one or two songs that would crystalize the event into memory (Mark Sandman's "Patience" for the curious).

And sometime between the wedding and the time I came back to my friend's place, the iPod was ripped off. The day was a blur, so I didn't remember if I reflexively placed the iPod in my slack pocket and it fell out at the reception and hopefully someone has given it to the newlyweds or if I accidentally left the car unlocked while I went into A Novel Idea bookstore for five friggin' minutes and someone went in and swipped the iPod from the glove compartment. If it's the latter, then yes, I was stupid and deserved to have it ripped off - even though the car I was driving wasn't mine and as a consequence, I should have checked the door even though I thought I locked it.


Yes, this is a lesson. Learn it.

But it may be a lesson to me. I've been stupidly buying way too much in terms of music. Bob Dylan, Yo La Tengo, TV on the Radio, great used buys from The Talking Heads and Guided by Voices. And when you put them on the iPod, you have the tendency just to hit shuffle and not give these works time to sink in. If I find it, I have suffered and learned my lesson quite well. But Jesus, what an expensive lesson.

Watching the live DVD "Demon Days" from Gorillaz. It's one of those concerts that looking at now, I would have gladly sacrificed a yearly vacation to grab a ticket to see.

Friday, September 15, 2006


My apologies for the weakness of my last blog about Ann Richards. One of my biggest problems as a writer is trying to find the words to describe brilliance. I always felt the hardest type of review you could write is a rave.

About to catch Gillian Welch at the Scottish Rite in Omaha with Conor Oberst opening. Can't wait - been waiting to see Ms. Welch perform for quite some time.

Have a good weekend, folks - stay positive

iPod mix of the day...
"Broke" - The Beta Band ***
"Orange Peel" - Luna ***
"Headpones" - Bjork *****
"Cold Lampin' With Flavor" - Public Enemy *****
"Ted, Just Admit It..." - Jane's Addiction *****
"Gone" - Kanye West feat. Consequence (the 30-second 'gone) **
"ELT" - Wilco **** (closing in on *****)
"Workingman's Blues #2" - Bob Dylan ***
"Bron - Yr - Aur" - Led Zep ****
"Jean is Dead" - Descendents ***
"Jesus, Etc. (live)" - Wilco ****
"H." - Tool ****
"Going Home" - Luna ***
"Southern Accents" - Johnny Cash ***
"C'mon Billy" - PJ Harvey *****
"Preaching Blues (Up Jumped the Devil)" - Robert Johnson ****
"Jesus Gonna Be Here" - Tom Waits ****
"Move" - Miles Davis *****
"Chattanooga Sugar Babe" - Johnny Cash ****
"Dream in Blue" - Los Lobos *****
"Nowhere Again" - The Secret Machines ***
"Best Foot Forward" - DJ Shadow ****
"I Know You (Part III)" - Morphine *****
"Geek Stink Breath" - Green Day **** (lousy title though)


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ann Richards - RIP

I'm not a Texan. My time in Texas was two weeks in Austin while I was prepping for my Dow Jones Internship. Still, I was saddened to hear of Richards' death. It was amazing during the 1994 campaign, when she resorted to the same "dirty politics" tactics as George W. Bush and Karl Rove, she was deemed meanspirited. But when her politcal counterparts performed the same actions, it was "just politics."

I remember watching her speech at the 1988 Democratic National Convention. She was a beacon of strength and provided a much-needed spine to the Democratic party. She was as hard-hitting as the toughest Republicans, yet was compassionate on issues such as gay rights and prison reforms. Two words just keep coming to mind when I try to describe Ann Richards to folks too young to remember her political days: true class.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Flying solo

I'm going to a wedding for a woman I almost asked to marry about a decade ago this Saturday. It's starting to sink in. I thought she was my soul-mate. She was one of the only women I was physically attracted to - and we bonded over Bjork and Jim Behm. She's over her partying phase - so am I. But I'm going to this wedding solo. Should be an interesting time...

Other topics -

Went downtown last night to check out the lighting of the Woodman tower in honor of the victims of September 11. It was a great scene. It was foggy and misty out and there were some kids hanging out and taking snapshots. It was nice...until the radio station who helped set up the even began playing shit like Toby Keith and "Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning?" I think one of the reasons we're in the situation that we are in is that so many people "don't know the difference between Iraq and Iran." The scene was beautiful though and made you crave a moment of silence as you looked up at the tower and just imagined another tower stacked right on top of that one - and that was one of the World Trade Centers. Sometimes a moment like this didn't need music. Wish those a-holes from the radio station would have realized that...

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sept. 11 blog

Nothing you haven't read before, so I'll refrain from the typical "where I was when I heard that the second tower collapsed" postings and the general commentary about how we should never forget. How can we? NPR's "On the Media" said it best when the announcer said this wasn't the "Fifth Year Since September 11" as much as the "Fifth Year of September 11."

Frank Rich's column in Sunday's New York Times made a great point when he spoke of sacrifice to face the problems of the Depression and the looming second World War. The first bit of sacrifice Americans were urged to do following Sept. 11 was to go to a store and buy stuff. Not even a local store. Somehow, that just doesn't have the same impact as gas rationing.

Yes, I'm one of those folks who thinks that in a perfect world, people wouldn't need to sacrifice for Sept. 11 - they would do it on their own accord, be it by volunteering, donating blood or looking for more fuel-efficient ways to run their lives. But people are selfish in nature and sometimes need to be prodded into doing that type of sacrifice.

Take me - since September 11, I thought the best way I could mark the anniversary was to donate blood and not by putting an American flag sticker on my car (in the words of Bill Maher - "put a flag on your car, it's literally the LEAST you can do.). In my definition, it was a perfect way to commemorate that tragic day. I remember the outpouring of blood donors at blood banks - and even though, sadly, few donations were needed for that event, the reserves were boosted for a bit. Now, they are back to critical levels. But, in a symbolic way, it was a fitting way to mark the event by actually giving something back to the community, actually losing blood as so many people lost their lives and the anniversary would actually get my butt to the blood bank. Still, I think I've done this twice since 2001.

I know there are scores of people who cannot donate blood. This is by no means a "look at how superior I am" post. It's also unfair that gays and lesbians are routinely discouraged to donate blood, even though their straight counterparts may have engaged in far riskier behavior. Still, it's probably the best answer I can give to someone who says "What the hell do you do to mark a day like this?"

I have to admit though, the only reason this is coming up now is that the Red Cross called me and said they were down to less than a day's reserve for the blood type I have. Otherwise, I would have totally slacked off this year.

Separate 9/11 note - the ABC movie 'Path to 9/11' - everyone who reads this blog probably already knows I'm not too kind on the current administration. Still, if I was on the bandwagon for making sure theaters wern't intimidated by showing Fahrenheit 9/11, I think the network should be free to show this. There's plenty of blame to be spread across both administrations for this tragedy.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Almost friends, but friends nontheless

So, an earlier post, I commented on having a friend who I would consider a partial friend. One who challenges you intellectually, one you can laugh with, one who you're friendlier than a co-worker with - but for some reason, you know you can't count on that person to be a true friend. You can't could on that person to actively want to go for a beer after work, or go to a concert with or more important matters, such as helping you move or confiding in. Still, I've come to the conclusion that in your life, you do need these people. These people may not mean to intentionally harm your psyche by blurring the lines between friend and associate periodically, but they do serve a purpose in your life. Be it introducing you to new music, being a good person to email and vent about work. It's just that you're responsible for keeping yourself from getting burnt by expecting anything that you would expect from true friends. So, with that, I reopen my lines of communication with this almostfriend because in times of crap jobs, singlehood and career apathy, you need all the friends (true and almost) that you can get.

Positive note - United 93 out on DVD this week - essential purchase AND...
TV on the Radio's US-approved release Return to Cookie Mountain and the new Yo La Tengo album out Sept. 12!

Friday random shuffle mix:
"Suffer" - Smashing Pumpkins ****
"Out on the Tiles" - Led Zep ****
"Ocean (live)" - The Velvet Underground ***
"Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman)" - Led Zep ***** (chauvinism rocks)
"All it Really Want to do(live)" - Bob Dylan ****
"Yesterday's News" - Whiskeytown ****
"Muzzle of Bees (live)" - Wilco ***
"The Pope" - Bill Hicks ****
"She Rote" - Charlie Parker *****
"Oddfellows Local 151" - R.E.M. *** (I burned 15 CDs to Whitey in the past 5 days - not one yet on shuffle. My iPod's a slave to routine)
"Big Daddy" - Talking Heads ***
"B.O.B." - Outkast *****
"Tracy I Love You" - Luna ****
"The Mirror Consipracy" - Thievery Corporation ****
"The Book" - Sheryl Crow ***
"Strange Eyes" - The Magnetic Fields ****
"Mr. Ameche Plays the Stranger" - Yo La Tengo ****
"Phonograph Blues (Alternative Take)" - Robert Johnson ****
"Sweet Potato" - Cracker ****

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Have You No Sense of Decency, Sir?

It amazes me that some people have the audacity to label this guy as a 'kook'

Operating System Not Found

...that was what greeted me when I powered on my laptop last night. I got this laptop (Sony Vaio) in 2002 with some assistance from family and a cheap program at the University. Needless to say, my recovery disc is nowhere to be found. It's on its last legs anyway: the battery has been dead for almost two years and the AC power needs to be plugged in 'just so' into the outlet in the laptop, otherwise, the computer dies.

One of my friends at Homer's music (a friend I don't try to meet there because she usually talks me into buying about $50 worth of CDs when I really came in for just one CD that was on sale for $9.99) just got a new laptop from Nebraska Furniture Mart (think Best Buy meets your standard furniture store for non-Nebraska readers) with zero interest for 36 months. I should jump at the chance. It's a great deal. But I'm stubborn and want to get the most life I can out of this laptop.

It's like an old car.

Sure it overheats when you stop at a red light, that's why you try to time getting to a red light so you don't stop. Or you shut your AC off as you approach the red light. Or you do any other quirks to your car so that you can eek out another horrible winter or another punishing summer.

Sure enough, after fiddling around with some of the internals and taking a dead battery and sliding it back into its home, Microsoft XP came up and I was able to transfer every damn thing I had onto CDs. Album reviews, resumes for 'corporate' jobs, resumes for freelance jobs, clips and links to clips, and yeah ... even a few sporadic fan-fiction docs.

So, here's hoping the laptop endures another year. If not...any recommendations about new laptops? I've heard good things about Toshiba, but I'm also looking at the Mac Power book. The poster with the best computer recommendation gets a complimentary mix CD.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Back to the gym...maybe

The holiday was awesome. The weather couldn't have been better: slightly breezy, upper 60s and mostly sunny. Spent a few hours walking my sister's dogs and spent another few hours in the park reading Cobra II - a great book about the war in Iraq.

I did some running and I've come to the realization that I hate running on sidewalks. It's like having a shock to the knee each time your shoe hits the pavement. My apartment's gym could fit in your average apartment living room, meaning you're that close to a total stranger. I know it's like that in a gym, but at least you have some space. In addition, the gym is right next to the office, so when people come in to check the place out, they can't help but look at you. It's like you're in the plated glass cave at a zoo as the onlookers gawk.

First off - I hate the gym. I admire people who stay in shape or get in shape by doing it sans-gym: by getting out and running, by sticking to an exercise routine at home. Still, I think I'm close to breaking down and renewing my membership. It's $40 a month if you choose to go four days a week. You have a decent pool, raquetball court, basketball court, tons of wide open spaces to do your own thing and a sauna, steamroom and whirlpool. The only thing is that I would have to sign up for a year lease, and with a plan to move in May, that would mean eating a few months - amounting to about $150. Not much, but I keep thinking "that $150 could be used for a plane ticket to check out the area I want to move to before I move."

Still, there are some intangibles... If you pay for something, you're going to tend to want to get the most out of it. Yeah, working out with a run in the morning outside is more fulfilling, but seriously, I doubt I'm going to be doing many runs at 5:30 in the morning when it's -20 outside. The hardcore runners do this without fail - but hardcore I am not.

Friday, September 01, 2006

VMA recap (and to think I gave up cable)

Rolling Stone totally slayed with this recap of the MTV music award show - a show where 'epic' was used like a comma...

Have an exciting holiday -

"Never Mind" - The Replacements *****
"59 Times the Pain" - Husker Du ****
"One Of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)" - Bob Dylan ****
"Three Babies" - Sinead O'Connor ****
"One PM Again" - Yo La Tengo **** (dang ne'r close to *****)
"Orange Rolls, Angel's Spit" - Sonic Youth ***
"Revolutionary Generation" - Public Enemy *****
"All I Need" - Air *****
"A Singer of Songs" - Johnny Cash ***
"Jazzy Bells" - Outkast *****
"You Are What You Love" - Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins ***
"Lie Detector" - The Reverend Horton Heat **
"Shadows of Ourselves" - Thievery Corporation ****
"Hey Julie" - Fountains of Wayne *****
"Slow Numbers" - Morphine ** (down from ***)
"Sink to the Bottom" - Fountains of Wayne **
"Basketcase" - Dangerdoom ****
"Bells for Her" - Tori Amos *****
"Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill" - Husker Du ****
"Last Song" - Eagle*Seagull ****
"Favorite Thing" - The Replacements *****
"Wise Up" - Aimee Mann *****
"Phonograph Blues" - Robert Johnson ****
"Bedda At Home" - Jill Scott ** (love Scott, but Beautifully Human was a major letdown)
"Nightmare by the Sea" - Jeff Buckley *****
"The Saddest Song" - Morphine **** (not that sad)
"Hate" - Cat Power *****
"Think About Me" - Fleetwood Mac ***
"Jesus Saves" - Slayer *****